Schumer: Emissions reductions 'not sufficient' without meeting White House environmental justice standard

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Schumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged the passage of the Democratic budget reconciliation package, but said its provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be insufficient without environmental action addressing vulnerable communities.

Schumer, making an unscheduled appearance at a League of Conservation Voters press conference with House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNews media's sausage-making obsession helps no one Klobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D-Calif.), said the package “will put us on a path to delivering on the President's ambitious goal of reduction of greenhouse gases by 50 percent [by] 2030,” but added that even that goal is “not sufficient.”

“We need to ensure that at least 40 percent of the benefits are flowing to disadvantaged communities, and that people [who] live in communities dependent on fossil fuels are given the support they need so no one's left behind during the transition,” Schumer said.

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The Senate majority leader warned that “in a few years because of climate change each year will be worse than COVID, and each year will be worse than the [last] if we don't do anything about it” without action like that in the reconciliation package, which he said would spur a “green industrial revolution.”

The package comes after Biden issued Justice40, a mandate requiring at least 40 percent of federal funding to be directed to vulnerable communities, early in his presidency. The mandate aims to advance environmental justice, which is the practice of incorporating impacts on disadvantaged communities into environmental policies.

The White House issued guidance on implementing Justice40 in July.

Schumer has said the upper chamber aims to pass the reconciliation package by Christmas, while the House is targeting this week to vote on the measure. Its climate provisions have repeatedly run up against opposition from Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Key senators to watch on Democrats' social spending bill MORE (D-W.Va.), a key vote in the 50-50 chamber.

One of Manchin’s most vocal objections has been to the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which would provide financial incentives to electric utilities to transition to renewable energy. The program was not included in a framework released by the White House in late October.